Something sort of strange happened today.
I walked into an administrator’s office this afternoon to handle some business or another. He was not in, but I talked to his assistant for a little while. After a few moments, she interrupted me and said:
Mark, you look so light. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you at work this way before. You just seem so… happy. It’s too bad that you had to leave for me to see you this way.
I smiled, and told her that I was very happy, and then we continued on with our business.
Her comment caught me off guard, though: sure–I’m aware that this move and this change of job has lightened my mood, but I hadn’t realized that up until recently I have been carrying myself at work with such… such what? Seriousness? Dourness? Unfriendliness?
It’s true–I don’t socialize much with colleagues at work, other than an occasional lunch. Since I do have a supervisory role, though, I think that’s probably just fine. But I had not been aware that I might be perceived at work as–well, the opposite of light: heavy, dark.
Not exactly what I’m after.
So I reflected on that the rest of the day: to what extent am I aware of the image I am presenting to others–at work as well as at home? While I am not responsible for how others perceive me, I believe I am responsible for being mindful of my actions and their consequences–and words, tone of voice, and body language are all forms of actions for which I am accountable.
Being mindful and deliberate of how I present myself to the world sounds so–serious. To put it more simply: what I really need to do is just lighten up.